Limerick householders warned of water cuts

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

HOUSEHOLDERS across the city are being warned to expect disruption to their service in the next few months as the council repairs its water mains network.

HOUSEHOLDERS across the city are being warned to expect disruption to their service in the next few months as the council repairs its water mains network.

Council engineers will be attending estates across the city as part of a major scheme to replace old and leaky water mains, with brand new pipes.

This is being done in an effort to reduce the level of water wastage which in 2010, stood second highest in the country.

A number of streets have been selected for the first phase of works, which are being done thanks to a €7m war chest from the government.

These include Crecora Avenue, Prospect, Hyde Road, Carey’s Road, New Road, John’s Square, and Henry Street.

They were selected as part of an investigations of various sites in the city.

Some of the mains surveyed showed signs of deterioration, while restrictions in flow were evident in others.

Due to corrosion, some valves were even inoperable, the council reports.

Houses in the streets affected will see their water supplies cut off for between six and eight hours, mainly during the working day, director of service David Keane said.

Homeowners on a communal service must connect to the new pipes.

At the monthly meeting of Limerick City Council, Mr Keane warned councillors to expect complaints from the public.

Under the new arrangement, there will be a single entity covering the whole city, served by five trunk mains metered at the reservoir.

There will be 21 metering areas, which will cater for approximately 1,000 homes each.

Due to this, fears have been raised that this is a step in the direction of water charges.

However, Mr Keane stressed that there is no connection between the council works and the installation of water meters ahead of the planned charges in 2014.

Labour’s southside councillor Joe Leddin told Mr Keane it would be a good idea to work on areas where works are ongoing, for example the regeneration areas.

Northside councillor Michael Hourigan, Fine Gael, also asked how much work can be done with the €7m allocation.

In response, Mr Keane said he is confident his staff will be able to cover much of the city.

But when the €7m is spent, they will have to approach the exchequer again for further funding.

Council estimates show that 50km of the water mains net work is over 80 years old, and as a result, is prone to bursts, leaks and low pressure.

The first phase of water pipe replacements is expected to be complete by 2013.

Mr Keane said: “This project is completely focused on water conservation and improving water quality and service to the consumer.” Information leaflets will be sent to homes affected.